Battery Set Compendium

Battery Set Compendium (BSC) – 2015 Edition
Written by Greg Hunolt

The BSC is a ‘first stop’ source for information about early battery set radios and the companies that made them. The BSC contains as much information as is practical about the widest possible range of companies and radio types, and points to (without attempting to duplicate) sources of much greater depth, such as the books by Alan Douglas and Eric Wenass, articles published in Radio Age or AWA publications (Old Timers’ Bulletin, the AWA Journal, and AWA Reviews).

The scope of the BSC is early vacuum tube battery apparatus and complete sets from roughly 1909 through 1929 (excluding automobile and ‘farm’ radios), including kits as well as factory assembled sets. The BSC includes early ‘modules’, such as detector units, amplifier units, tuner units, etc., that were connected together in various combinations to comprise complete sets, as well as complete sets, providing a view of the evolution of the technology. Crystal sets are outside of the scope of the BSC (though a few are included) but references to crystal detector units used as components of a ‘modular’ receiver are included (and some vacuum tube radios included crystal detectors). The 2015 BSC includes information about 1,845 radio companies and 6,315 radio equipment types (radio sets or apparatus).


The BSC provides flexible information retrieval capabilities intended to meet the needs of battery set collectors. Users may search the BSC’s database for information about companies and/or radio types, and produce detailed reports about individual companies or radio types, or summary listings of companies and radio types. The BSC is not a price or value guide.

The BSC is available as a download from the WARCI website at no cost. I hope that in exchange you will contribute your ideas, criticisms, and suggestions for how the BSC can be improved. I hope that you might provide information about companies and sets that the BSC is missing, especially local companies that did not advertise in the national publications or otherwise become well-known. The BSC package includes forms for company and radio type information that may be helpful for capturing information for the BSC.

Please contact us if you experience any difficulties with the BSC; it is not a finished product! We will notify you when updates to the BSC are available if you indicate a wish to receive them.

The BSC package consists of a Microsoft Excel workbook which holds the BSC database and information retrieval software and the BSC Users’ Guide, as both a PDF and a Microsoft Word document, and a “readme” text file that I encourage you to read before attempting to start up the BSC. In order to use the BSC you must have Excel on your system, and you will need the (free) Acrobat Reader or Word to read the Users’ Guide. The BSC has been developed and tested using Excel 2003, 2007 and 2010 running with Windows XP and Windows-7. (The BSC has not been tested with the Microsoft Windows-8 operating system, but I am blissfully unaware of any reason why it would not work with Windows-8.) I have not been able to test the BSC on a Macintosh platform; the BSC detects whether it is running on PC or Macintosh, and if on Macintosh it makes some adjustments because of the differences between the Macintosh and PC versions of Excel. Macintosh users are encouraged to tell me of any difficulties encountered.  Also, one user reports that he was able to run the BSC using Libreoffice (formerly OpenOffice) version and Linux.

Copyright Note: You may make copies of the BSC and Users’ Guide for any fellow collectors as you wish, the more people who get it and find it useful, the better as far as I’m concerned. Please let me know who they are so that I can offer them updates as time goes on. What you may not do is put the BSC up for sale, or remove my name from it.

When downloading the Battery Set Compendium online, WARCI requests that you provide us with your name and e-mail address to be included in notices of future Battery Set Compendium news and updates. Your contact information will remain confidential and will not be sold or distributed to any third party.

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